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How to Donate Carefully

July 11, 2018 | By Louis Tully

When a disaster strikes, it usually comes from a natural source like an earthquake, a hurricane or even an erupting volcano. But natural or otherwise, when these catastrophic events hit populated areas of the world, chaos ensues, putting thousands or even millions of people in urgent need of help. Whenever we see these heartbreaking images of human suffering and desperation on the evening news, we naturally feel the need to do something to help. But before you break out your wallet and start sending money to random charity organizations, stop and make sure you know exactly where your money is going. If you’re donating money while still paying off a signature installment loan, the last thing you want is for your donation to end up in the wrong hands.

Do Your Research First

Taking the extra time to decide how much you can afford to give and which organization you will entrust your donation with will make you feel better about giving. For every honest charity that’s out there doing the right thing, there’s always a wolf in sheep’s clothing who will use other people’s misfortune and suffering for their own benefit. This is why it’s crucial to do your homework and make sure the organization you choose is one that’s not in it for the money, but to help those in need. Charity Navigator is a perfect online tool you can use to find legitimate nonprofit organizations that are worth supporting.

Give Within Your Community

If you’re simply looking to give back to your own community, there are some steadfast options you can trust without thinking twice:

  • School District
  • Churches
  • Food Drives
  • Grocery Store

Donating Online

Perhaps you have a cause that you’d like to donate to that’s not covered by a larger organization. This could be related to a friend or family member in need of financial help, or maybe there’s a cause you wish you could donate to, but you just don’t have the money to contribute. In either case, the internet is a wonderful tool to help raise awareness and bring in contributions to a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.

If you can’t afford to give personally, you can use the internet to at least raise awareness for those who can. Fortunately, there are many ways you can use social media to start a fundraiser and invite the entire online community to support it. Here are some popular fundraiser websites that make it easy to raise money for your cause, but proceed with caution. There are usually fees that can range from 5% to 15% that are taken from all donations, along with processing charges and other administrative fees. Be sure to read the fine print:

  • GoFundMe
  • Kickstarter
  • IndieGoGo

Though the heart is willing, it’s extremely important to make sure you can afford to give before donating to any cause. If your budget doesn’t have room for making charitable donations, you can always turn to social media to bring awareness to the cause. It’s important to note that giving blood is the perfect way to give something to someone in need without spending one red cent. That said, no matter how you choose to give, who you end up giving to or what cause it’s for, remember to be careful and do your research before taking action. This makes the act of giving worth every penny.